Has UK Government been slower to vaccinate the most-at-risk, rejecting official advice?

Thanks to Bob Lamont for feeding me this one.

I’ve chosen what the headline should be, based on the UK Government’s decision to ignore expert advice from its own expert body, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation . Headlines matter. We know that many only read them before moving on.

Two days ago, Matt Hancock admitted that England had vaccinated only 24% of care home residents and on the same day Jeanne Freeman said Scotland had vaccinated over 80%.

Months before, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation was very clear that those who live in care homes were the top priority for vaccination against covid-19.

So, this prioritising, following the expert advice, in Scotland, of the most-at-risk care home residents, will have resulted in vaccination for those less-at-risk, because they are relatively isolated in their own homes, over-80s being slightly later.

In England, driven by a desire to get more through the door and to be able to claim world-beating and no doubt Jock-beating performance, they did not follow the expert advice.

If you read on the truth is there but it’s worded carefully and the headline has done its damage by then:

Scotland is receiving vaccines based on its share of the population but has its rollout to the over-80s been slower than England? The answer appears to be yes. But it is because it has pursued a different strategy, with Scotland making sure that care home residents and healthcare staff were at the top of the list. On the BBC’s Question Time on Thursday night, SNP MP Philippa Whitford said that more than 80% of care home residents had been vaccinated in Scotland and they were the number one priority group on the list drawn up by the JCVI, which advises on rollout across the UK.

See what they have done?

Just a ‘different‘ strategy not the ‘recommended‘ one?

Just the ‘JVCI‘, and ‘advises‘, not the ‘Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, an independent expert advisory committee‘ whose advice is almost always followed? 

Imagine it was the other way round and the Scottish Government had ignored the advice of the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation?

10 thoughts on “Has UK Government been slower to vaccinate the most-at-risk, rejecting official advice?

      1. From WGD

        Comment by

        Lynne says:
        January 15, 2021 at 1:54 am

        The Evolve piece was based on a Nov. 18, 2019 Guardian article by Peter Oborne:

        ‘A big reason for Johnson’s easy ride is partisanship from the parts of the media determined to get him elected. I have talked to senior BBC executives, and they tell me they personally think it’s wrong to expose lies told by a British prime minister because it undermines trust in British politics. Is that a reason for giving Johnson free rein to make any false claim he wants?’

        Liked by 2 people

  1. My wife and I are due to get our vaccination tomorrow at our local Health Centre, as we are in the over 80s category. I think that’s pretty good. I say that because I remember I was one of the people who queued outside Glasgow Corporation Public Health Dept, Cochrane Street, Glasgow, in 1950, to receive my Smallpox jag.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “Just a ‘different‘ strategy not the ‘recommended‘ one?”

    This is the output of journalism school. How to tell a lie and get away with it. How to make black appear white. How to convince the public up is down.

    Orwell’s 1984 and the chocolate ration announcement…in action

    Liked by 4 people

  3. It is noteworthy, that on none of the measures which indicate a superior performance in Scotland are permitted to be expressed, and, if someone has the temerity to do so, this is given the rebuke, “We are talking of people’s lives here, this is no cause for gloating over such exceptionalism!’

    If the datum indicates something inferior about Scotland, the media comment, is “We are talking about people’s lives here. Heads must roll over this failure.”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The Head of Immunisation for Public Health England has been talking online about the intentions for vaccimating the people in England.

    She has since stated that herd immunity is not seen by PHE as a way out of the pandemic.

    JVCI says this about the vaccination of children.

    “Following infection, almost all children will have asymptomatic infection or mild disease. There are very limited data on vaccination in adolescents, with no data on vaccination in younger children, at this time. The Committee advises that only those children at very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes, such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities that require residential care, should be offered vaccination. Clinicians should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with a person with parental responsibility, who should be told about the paucity of safety data for the vaccine in children aged < 16 years. More detail on vaccination in children is set out in the Green Book – Immunisation Against Infectious Disease."

    "Almost all children will have asymptomatic infection". How many is "almost all" and what might it mean for those children who get the virus with symptoms?

    This is a study reported in the BMJ. The study has limitations, including selection bias. Even so, the numbers of children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome will be of concern to parents even if it is more likely to affect older age groups and black children.


    The European Centre for Disease Control says this.

    "How likely are children to catch and transmit the virus in school settings?
    Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occur within the school setting and clusters have been reported in all types of schools settings (preschool, primary and secondary school). However, school outbreaks have not been a prominent feature in the COVID-19 pandemic. Transmission in the school setting appears to be affected by the levels of community transmission. Where epidemiological investigation has occurred, transmission in schools has accounted for a minority of all COVID-19 cases in a given country.

    The majority of children do not develop symptoms when infected with the virus, or they develop a very mild form of the disease.

    No evidence has been found to suggest that children or educational settings are the primary drivers of SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission. However, research has shown that children can become infected, and can spread the virus to other children and adults while they are infectious.
    Emerging evidence on new variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus which are of concern, such as that which was reported in the United Kingdom in December 2020 , could mean that this assessment will change if transmission is found to be higher in younger age groups."


    Finally, Tabby Traveller reported these numbers of infections occurring yesterday in Scotland of children and young people.

    39 infected between the age 0 to 4
    70 infected between the age 5 to 14
    117 infected between the age 15 to 19

    Liked by 3 people

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